Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff issued several statements supporting total eradication of the death penalty. Ossoff’s stance aligned with petitions to save violent murderers from execution.
Abolish the death penalty.
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) December 11, 2020
The candidate’s tweets occurred as part of the ongoing social media trend inspired by scheduled federal executions taking place. Users petitioned that the prisoners should be reprieved of their death sentence. Social media users and celebrities claimed that man executed Thursday, Brandon Bernard, was given an unfair sentence.
Bernard, then 18 years old, and four other young men abducted and robbed a young Texan couple, Todd and Stacie Bagley, who were driving home from Sunday church service. After the gang locked the couple in the trunk, Bernard’s accomplice, Christopher Vialva, shot Todd and Stacy in the head. While Todd died instantly, Stacy was still alive when Bernard set the car on fire.
Up until their death, the young couple attempted to share the gospel and pray with their assailants.
Although some stated that Bernard only followed orders and never intended murder, or that Stacie died from the gunshot wound, the testimonies and evidence given prove that statement patently false. Bernard and one of the other men poured lighter fluid on the car before Vialva shot the couple, and multiple medical examiners established that Stacie died of smoke inhalation.
Following Bernard, the next execution was scheduled for Alfred Bourgeois – activists also petitioned to delay and reverse his sentence. The court reported that Bourgeois “systemically abused and tortured” his two-year-old daughter physically, sexually, and mentally; Bourgeois murdered his daughter by bashing her head into his truck window.
Ossoff’s political stance to abolish the death penalty aligned with his campaign platform, which proposes to abolish mandatory minimum sentencing, legalize certain drugs, prohibit nonviolent drug-related incarcerations, ban private prisons, end cash bail.
“Our approach to punishment must respect the human dignity of incarcerated people and recognize that except for the most dangerous violent criminals, successful re-entry to society after incarceration is crucial for both the convicted and the public,” he said.
It was unclear from the candidate’s tweets and his platform whether he was implicitly advocating for taxpayer-subsidized, lifelong prison sentences.
The Georgia Star News reached out to the Ossoff campaign to ask about his proposed alternative to the death penalty for criminals who commit crimes that earn a death sentence. Campaign spokespersons didn’t respond by press time.
Ossoff’s brief tweet matched statements made by other Democratic politicians, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14).
The next federal execution will take place January 12 for Lisa Montgomery, followed by Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs. All three individuals were convicted of murder.
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